June 29, 2021

UTA Artist Space presents Beyond the Looking Glass

By Tristen Yang

This Friday, we joined UTA Artist Space for their opening night event in Beverly Hills presenting bold and surreal artworks by 14 female artists. With live music by DJ SOSUPERSAM, an open bar, and a group of eclectic guests, the exhibition drew attention as the highlight event in the community. 

The debut of the exhibition expanded three gallery spaces of the venue, concocted of various mediums and artworks by progressive female artists. The group consisted of Firelei Báez, Tawny Chatmon, Charlotte Colbert, Kim Dacres, Florine Démosthène, Genevieve Gaignard, Sanam Khatibi, Klara Kristalova, Shannon T. Lewis, Jesse Mockrin, GaHee Park, Hiba Schahbaz, Kiki Smith, and Jessica Stoller. The overarching theme of the works profile surrealist and expressionist imagery confronting traditional archaic tropes surrounding ideas of masculinity and femininity. This is further exemplified with the absence of phallic symbols and the appreciation for fecundity, almost insinuating the flourishing of nature being synonymous with the female vessel.

“While organizing this exhibition, I enjoyed poking holes in traditional standards of beauty in art and pop culture,” said exhibition curator and UTA Artist Space director Zuzanna Ciolek.

Surrealist works like Sanam Khatibi’s He knows how to play, but I do it better highlights subversion of traditional portraiture by building on the foundation of the primeval nature of mankind and reintroducing it with a new lens. Other favorites include the works of skilled sculptor, Jessica Stoller. Stoller’s works are most known for its fantasy feasts for the eyes, with Bloom being no exception, and serving as a centerpiece in the gallery’s showcase. Bloom tells a story in a pastel-colored explosion of orgasmic bouquets of erotic flowers surrounded by pieces of female legs. The massive work literally invites the viewer to engage and explore thematic connections to the ornamental idea of feminine representation.

“How do we connect to our ‘self,’ while disconnecting from stories
and religions we have been taught?” — 
Florine Démosthène

UTA Artist Space is an exhibition venue designed by Ai Weiwei in the heart of Beverly Hills that is committed to showcasing art by globally recognized talent. Since its establishment in 2016, UTA Artist Space has presented notable exhibitions with interdisciplinary artists and creatives, including Derrick Adams, Myrtis Bedolla of Galerie Myrtis, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Essence Harden, Larry Clark, Petra Cortright, Conrad Egyir, Amanda Hunt, Mariane Ibrahim, Arcmanoro Niles, The Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery, The Haas Brothers, and Ai Weiwei, among others.

Beyond the Looking Glass is open for viewing until July 31st.